It’s the time of year when squirrels are getting ready to nest, and that means there’s a good chance they’ll start looking for places to build their homes in your attic or crawlspace. While squirrels can be cute, they can also be a nuisance – and if they damage your home in the process, it can end up costing you a lot of money. So can squirrels damage your foundation?
Can Squirrels Damage Your Foundation?
Yes, ground squirrels are notorious for digging or burrowing under your home, which can cause damage to your home. The rodents can damage the plants, landscape, and trees near your home. In addition, they can displace dirt under foundation slabs, which can cause the structure or earth to shift or lead to cracks.
At the time of this writing, there are 62 species of ground squirrels that reside in the United States. This means that you’re likely to reside near these furry little creatures. In fact, you may have noticed some digging or burrowing around your foundation, that made you wonder what you can do.
Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about protecting your home, and how to keep squirrels away from your foundation.
What Is A Foundation?
The foundation serves as protection against the cold, moisture, and prevents the earth and structure from moving. If damaged by rodents, it can be extremely costly to repair.
When damaged, the costs can vary between $2,500 and $6,500, depending on the severity of the damage. According to Home Advisor, damage from squirrels or vermins or other pests are not covered under homeowners insurance.
Which means, you’ll be responsible for the entire repair bill, if your home sustains damage.
Why Do Squirrels Burrow Under Houses?
As we mentioned, squirrels will start looking for places to build their nests as winter approaches. If your home is in their path, they may try to burrow or dig their way under your foundation.
Types of Foundation Damage Caused By Squirrels
There are three main types of foundation damage caused by squirrels:
• Gnawing – This type of damage is most common in areas where there is food available, such as near bird feeders. The squirrels will gnaw on the wood to get to the food, which can lead to structural damage.
• Burrowing – Aka digging holes around the foundation. This type of behavior is mostly common in the autumn, as the rodents start preparing for the upcoming winter months.
• Nesting – If the squirrels find their way into your attic or crawlspace, they will build a nest. This can damage insulation, wiring, and ductwork.
How To Tell If A Squirrel Is Damaging Your Foundation?
The best way to prevent damage to your home, is to be proactive and inspect it regularly. Here are some telltale signs that you may have a squirrel or pest infestation.
- Broken Gutters: If your gutters are suddenly loose or damaged, it could be from a squirrel trying to get into your attic.
- Holes: If you notice any holes or mounds of dirt near your foundation, or in the yard. Don’t forget to check for holes in your insulation or under the soffits. Squirrels will dig at anything to find an entryway into the home.
- Damaged Plants: If you have plants near your foundation and they’re being broken, dying or chewed on, it’s likely from a squirrel or other rodent.
- Noises: Squirrels are noisy critters, especially when they are living in your walls, roof, or attic. If you’re hearing something run, thump, and scamper in your home, it’s likely the pests are living in your home.
- Cache of nuts: If you notice piles of acorns, walnuts, beech nuts, etc, it’s a sign that there is squirrel activity around the house.
- Animal droppings: Pests such as rats are known to leave droppings in areas. While you may not find squirrel droppings, you should at least know they look like pellets with rounded ends.
How Do You Stop Squirrels From Digging Under Your Foundation?
Now that you know what to look for, it’s important to know how to stop the problem before it gets out of hand. Below are a few things you can do to stop the squirrels from damaging or getting into your home.
Pick Up Debris: Squirrels and other rodents are attracted to areas that are cluttered with debris, as it provides them with hiding places. Be sure to pick up any fallen leaves, branches, or other items around the foundation.
Trim Trees and Bushes: If there are trees or bushes near your house, trim them back. This will remove any access points for the squirrels to climb onto your roof or home.
Seal Entry Points: If you find any cracks or holes in your foundation, be sure to seal them with caulk or expandable foam. These products can be found at your local hardware store. It will not only keep the rodents out, but it will also prevent your home from deteriorating any further.
Install A Barrier: One of the best ways to keep squirrels away from your foundation is to install a physical barrier. This can be in the form of chicken wire, or a metal fence. The barrier should be at least two feet high and buried six inches into the ground.
Remove Their Food Source: If you have bird feeders or fruit trees near your home, remove them. These items will attract the squirrels and other pests to your property.
You’ll want to inspect your home at least once a week, to ensure there is no new damage. If you do find any damage, be sure to repair it as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the worse the problem will become.
Even if you’ve never had any squirrel issues, it’s always a good thing to inspect your home and be proactive. By following the tips above, you can prevent any damage to your foundation and home.
Ground squirrels, rats, moles, and other rodents are notorious for digging holes under foundation premises. This often results in severe damage to the foundation and can result in them getting into the home.
If you suspect you’re having rodent problems, the best thing to do is to use the steps above to help you get rid of them. If after trying everything, it may be time to contact a professional exterminator.
They will be able to get rid of the problem quickly and efficiently, while preventing any future infestations and damage.